These spectacular photographs by Mike Bailey exemplify what is so unique about the Preserve: a natural area in an urban setting that abounds with a diversity of delights for its visitors. The Preserve is a favorite of area birders and photographers. Enjoy these photographs of a Baltimore Oriole near the community gardens, just after it launched from a perch, carrying food, and probably on the way back to a nest with young; the Prothonotary warbler at the Picnic Point Pond marsh; a pair of red-bellied Woodpeckers working on a huge dead tree in Bill's Woods, and a curious Yellow Warbler looking backward at Mike's camera. Thank you, Mike, for sharing these photographs with the Friends.
After the sky blues, pale yellows and fragrant white of the lupines, golden alexanders, and white baptisias of spring, the prairie is now erupting with the colors of summer: Bright yellows of Oxeye sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides), brilliant orange of Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberose), deep purple of Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), magenta of Pale purple coneflowers (Echinacea pallida), the saturated white of Wild quinine (Parthenium intgrifolium). Come and see and enjoy the colors, the butterflies and the birds and insects living of the abundance of the prairie.
Much to the joy of the Friends and Purple Martins house monitors, 2 pairs of martins have found and moved into the Purple Martin house, which was installed on top of the Biocore Prairie just this April. Martins were first seen investigating the house by monitor Janis Cooper on June 9. Only two weeks later we have the following most exciting report by monitor Chuck Henrikson. To follow the news on the house, click here.
Chuck reports; "I visited the PUMA [short for Purple Martins] house today, June 21, 2017, from 11:00 – 12:15. When I arrived all 4 PUMAs were out flying around not far from the house. When I got close to the house they seemed agitated at first and made lots of vocalizations but after a couple minutes they became accustomed to my presence and quieted down. I brought down the house and checked the open Apts. (2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7). Apt. 4 had a nice nest, mostly of long grasses, but no eggs. Apt. 5 had a nice nest with 5 white eggs in it. Apts. 2, 3, 6 & 7 had a few starter pine needles in each put there by one or more of our group but no signs of PUMA or other bird species’ activities. I took photos of the nests in Apts. 4 & 5. After about 15 minutes I returned the house to its normal position. The whole time I had the house down the PUMAs flew nearby vocalizing. Once the house was up the PUMAs became quiet and returned to the house. Wow, 5 eggs, what a great start!
A male House Sparrow came to the house twice while I was there but really did nothing."
Mike Bailey enjoyed his time at the Picnic Point marsh, photographing the resident Prothonotary warblers. As well, the warblers enjoyed the beautiful day, preening and singing, oblivious to the people on the path nearby and remaining perched on the same branch to be photographed.
As every summer, Prairie Partner Interns sponsored by the Friends are working in the Preserve for 8 weeks. On the photo, Seth McGee, the Biocore Lab Manager who spends his summers working in restoration ecology at the Biocore Prairie, explained to the Intern crew the Biocore Prairie as a living laboratory, talked about the evolution of the grassland ecosystem and included some hands-on botany/plant ID work with them. The interns are Alex Gall, wildlife ecology major from UW-Stevens Point, Caleb Burst, zoology major from UW-Madison, Kaitlyn Kozak, studying wildlife ecology - research & management at UW-Stevens Point, Krista Farrell, majoring in landscape architecture at UW-Madison, and Emily Jorgensen, majoring in environmental studies at UW-Madison. This year, the Interns spend one day each week at one of the five Prairie Partners lands, including these sponsors: Friends of the Lakeshore Preserve, Madison Audubon Society at Goose Pond, Friends of Pope Farm Conservancy, Friends of Pheasant Branch, and Natural Heritage Lanstrust at West Port Drumlin and Patrick Marsh Wildlife area. In addition to working hard at these locations, the interns benefit from educational and training programs, including learning about wetland ecology, vegetation survey designing, prescribed fires and the UW Urban Canid project, as well as caring for mounds built by the native peoples, visiting the Aldo Leopold shack and other opportunities. Past interns have emphasized the great value of working in different locations and with different supervising staff. Here at the Preserve they work under the direction of Adam Gundlach, the Preserve's field projects coordinator. In the Biocore Prairie photograph by Bryn Sciver, Baptisia alba blooming abundantly in the foreground.
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors